Five Six Seven NateFive, Six, Seven, Nate!

By Tim Federle. Read by Tim Federle (author).

7 hrs. CD. Simon & Schuster, 2014. (9781442374195) Gr. 4-8.

Middle-schooler Nate earns a minor roll in the Broadway musical, E.T. He arrives in New York City from small town Jenkburg for practice, where all of the theater staff brush him off and can’t get his name straight, and his arch nemesis bully from back home lands the star roll as Eliot. Nate misses his best friend Libby, tries to keep up in dance class, and crashes into someone almost every day. But then, he starts a secret friendship with his fellow understudy who mentors him, and he starts getting secret admirer messages and gifts.

This book is funny and sweet and sarcastic. I don’t even like musicals and I thought it was great. Nate is gay but he doesn’t even know this himself until the end of the book. He just knows that he doesn’t feel like he fits in, his dad bullies him about not liking “guy stuff,” Libby starts dating one of his other bullies, and his mom and dad don’t even get along. With all this negativity Nate is still upbeat and hopeful that he will make it as a star, even if his only line is “bleep.” (Like an alien, not a swear word)

I can’t describe how great this book is, especially on audio. The author narrates the audio himself and the story is based on his experience growing up on Broadway. Listening to him is like hearing Andy Cohen in an 8th grader’s body. For example, this is Federle’s most recent Tweet: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the shorts that no longer fit, the courage to find ones that do, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

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His whole family is incredibly funny. Here, they make a video to promote the Nate books by doing a stereotypical coming out story about Tim full of fake drama. Check it out: